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Everything posted by SFraser

  1. I might oblige. Got one eye on the Portugal match so the other is free to write about that. Building your Defence using the Tactical Instructions Building your defence follows very similar principles to building your possession play. You have your initial shape defined by your formation and you then have a set of Tactical Instructions for defining how you want individual players to behave. The difference here is that instead of trying to penetrate or overload or create and exploit space in the opponents defence and his lines of play, you are trying to keep the opponent from doing the same to you. One of the reasons that building a good defence is perhaps more difficult than building a good attack or good possession play is that you are rarely dealing with situations where you tweak individual players in isolation. You are not saying "this guy would be great with a bit more/less mentality or Roaming off/on, sitting perfectly in this gap in the opponents formation" but instead you are dealing with the whole shape of your own side in unison, trying to ensure that you leave no space while also providing cover in depth against potential attacks you might not actually see untill they beat you. I would argue that there is far more tactical thinking and strategising and planning involved in defending than in attacking. After all when you attack you are looking for your players to use their individual abilities to do something well, a good dribble, a good run, a good pass and hopefully a goal. You can instruct players to attempt these things, tweak their preferences, but really all you are doing is try to get players in the right places to do the right things. By contrast defending is all about using your shape to prevent opponents from doing this to you. Individual ability does matter, and there are always key roles for key defensive players, but the most important aspect of defending by far is how you design your shape, your team wide cohesion of pressing/dropping off/marking, and how you design backups and safeguards and key roles into your shape. I will discuss some basic and generic systems for defending commonly seen later in this post, but first I would describe the instructions. Tactical Instructions Mentality: A very important instruction for defending. Works exactly like I explained in my first post, but in this context you use the positioning of players to design depth and shape for your defensive system. This instruction combined to your starting formation essentially sets out the shape you want your team to use when you are defending and attacking. Like the combination of Mentaity + RFD work together to produce attacking depth and movement, so Mentality combines with Closing Down and Marking instructions to define defensive depth and movement. Closing Down: Essentially controls the desire/extent to which your players attempt to pressurise the man with the ball. The higher Closing Down is, the more a player is happy to leave his defensive position to get close and tight to the player with the ball. This instruction doesn't control a player desire to attempt to win the ball, but to get close to the player with the ball and defend against him from short range. Darren Fletcher is a good example of a player that chases and harrasses an opponent with the ball, without necessarilly diving into a tackle at the first glimpse of the ball. Paul Scholes would be a good example of a player that also gets really tight really quickly but has a habit of sliding, kicking and tackling whenever he see's a glimpse of leather. Tackling: This is a crucial instruction for defending, not only in terms of individual player instructions but also in terms of entire team defensive tactics. How and where you use this instruction defines what you are trying to do defensively, it defines your entire approach to defending. The instruction itself tells a player to either attempt to win the ball at the earliest opportunity, or to effectively back-off and refuse tackles untill what seems like a unfailable opportunity to win the ball. The instruction does not take into account the players ability, so exceptionally good tacklers with immense physical strength are very likely to win the ball regularly even with only slight opportunities. Vidic is a good example here, regularly seeming to somehow manage to get a toe to the ball with the most risky of challenges from the most risky of positions. Someone like Scholes who attempts similar challenges will give away free-kicks and Penalties. The reason this instruction is such a tactically definative instruction is not because of what it does to a single player, but because how identical settings effect entire lines, groups or key players in your whole defensive system. If you are trying to defend from the front you cannot tell your forwards to back-off because it defeats the whole point giving opponent defenders the opportunity to measure a pass. Likewise if you are trying to contain the opponent infront of your five man midfield, telling them all to dive into tackles like Gattuso completely defeats the point. How you set up your Tackling depends upon and defines your entire defensive tactical approach to a match. It is a game defining setting. Marking: Another crucial set of instructions coming in two forms, but I will admit that I am not entireally clued up on the nuances. The first marking option comes as a choice between Zonal and Man Marking. This is a pretty fundamental choice in terms of defending and while the actual specific behaviour is clear, it would requires pages to discuss the implications and tactical subtleties of the decision. Perhaps the best way to sum up how important this choice is, is to explain that Catennacio was a primarilly Man Marking system with a sweeper that everyone described as "anti football" untill "Total Football" came along and freed the game of football from this intense man-marking system. Then after "Total Football" came the evolution of Catenaccio into a Zonal Marking form, the Zona Mista, specifically designed to deal with "Total Football" and is the basis of the modern day Zonal Marking back four. The basic principle of the immense and furious evolution of defending the Man or defending the Zone is all about shape, which is the basic issue of defending. Is a specific, individual player better at defending against certain opponents despite the possibility of being lured out of position, or is a highly organised and well drilled shape of multiple players better at defending against certain opponents? The truth of the matter is that the theoretical question is irrelevant, that modern defences have evolved to be capable of both and to use both at the same time in the same match. In FM you quickly learn to keep specific man markers outside of your shape if you must keep one opponent quiet. This doesn't mean you cannot employ Man Markers within your shape, but it means you cannot rely upon a single defender both keeping shape and keeping an opponent quiet unless you have designed this defenders potential absence into your shape. The second Tactical Option, Tight or Loose Marking applies to both Zonal and Man Marking and defines the distance you want to keep your defenders from the opponent. Tight Zonal means your defender will get close to the player that enters his zone, Loose Zonal means he will keep his distance and a more "shapely" position. Likewise with Man Marking, your player will either get tight, or leave some distance from his mark. This instruction is important both for dealing with specific opponent abilities and for attempting to maintain shape while marking if it is necessary. It is a particularly big deal when faced with the threat of overloading in Zones or particular areas of the game. Summary: Altogether there is a staggering amount of options and detail in your defensive instructions, and rightly so because defending is perhaps the most tactically demanding aspect of the game. The very fact that defending requires the astute combination of shape, cover, isolation and defeat of specific opponents, requires that there is a large amount of possible behaviours not only for individuals but for the team. You can defend with individuals, with layers, with groups, with the whole team. You can focus your defense on the ball, on specific players, on potential areas of exposure and again on all these issues simultaneously. When defending it is a ludicrous task to attempt to micro-manage individual player defensive issues in perfect detail across the entire pitch like you might do when attacking. When defending what you need to do is have ideas of shape and cover and depth in your mind. Of using your team to force the opponent to play football where you want them, to force them to attack you where you are strongest, and to defend against them with strength where they are strongest. I really enjoy setting up defences and discussing defences in FM, it is the most tactically rich area of the game although not perhaps the most exciting. Individual Player Example I discussed an Inside Forward with some cool looking but ultimately flawed instructions in my last post. This time I will try and explain a rock solid "Cover Centreback" playing in the Nike Defence of Cover + Stopper CB's. Mentality: Say average for his nearby defenders is 10, I put him around Mentality 7. Closing Down: Say average for nearby defenders is 10, I put him around 8. Tackling: I put him at Light. Marking: Zonal Loose. This "should" produce a Covering Defender that sits deeper than the rest of the defence but not too deep as to produce huge gaps behind the fullbacks for the opponent to exploit, does not get tight to any runners in his zone and keeps his distance, while he sprints over to anyone that has the ball behind the defence using his body as an obstacle without commiting to a challenge, allowing teammates to get back and defend. An alternative setup would be low Closing Down, Hard Tackling for a sweeper that stays central and tries to win the ball that comes close to his deep centre position. This would be a "second goalkeeper" but would be horribly exposed if a couple of opponents get him isolated. A great setup to have behind a deep sitting defense though. Common Mistakes By far the most common error I see in defensive related topics on these forums is people thinking that the job of defending comes down to the instructions given to Centrebacks and DM's. If you think defending is a 3 player job then you have got the entire game of football completely wrong. It is easy to make mistakes in defending and so there is not much else to write about here, other than this glaring and fundamental and complete flaw in perception. This is easilly the single biggest and most prevailent error I see in people playing FM. The Team Example This is what defending is all about, the ability to build an entireally cohesive and rock solid strategy for defending against the opponent with multiple layers of redundancy combined to defense in detail. For this example I will use the 4-1-4-1 formation as it offers examples of everything I have talked about, and I will assume that all the player really cares about is defending. What we have here is first of all two lines of four and this should form the basis of your entire defensive strategy. How you choose to use these two lines of four in your team defines how you defend. Fail to use them as two sides of the same coin, fail to relate one line to the other line properly, and your defense is weak. We also have two players in "between the lines" positions. The DM and the Lone Striker. These "between the lines" players can operate independantly of your shape if you so choose, and can carry out key jobs and key roles. Alternatively they could be used as integral components of each line, providing an intensely strong defensive "peak" at the centre of each defensive line. The important part here is that you begin to see and imagine defensive shapes and defensive systems, you begin to see layers and defense in depth, you see shape and width, you see regions of key threat and areas of relative safety. When defending the most important part of the pitch bar none is the goal mouth. Followed by the Centre of Defense of the goal mouth, followed by protection and defence of the centre of defence. All defending is a matter of protection and layers. The further the opponent is from goal, the wide he is from goal, the safer is your goal. The reason you defend in depth is because if you dont then a single pass, run and dribble defeats your 10 man wall. The wall you present needs to have multiple layers so that no single event can defeat your defence, so that you can actually defend against a decent move. The further forward you start designing your defence, and the more layers you add to it without compromising strength of each layer, the more solid your defence becomes. In this example we are commited to defending. That is the premise and I will now describe how to set it up. We start off by choosing a deep D-Line and Narrow Width in order to keep most of our team deep and keep most of the space on the pitch wide. This pretty much means the opponent can only have good fun playing football near the centre circle or on the touchline, which is all good stuff for us. We then continue by recognising our two lines of four and our two "between the lines" players. In this example our "between the lines" players will be used as man markers. The CentreForward specifically marks the key link-up man between defense and midfield, while the DM specifically marks the key link-up man between midfield and attack. Even if both players never win the ball, they will cause huge disruption to the ease of playing the ball through the key outlets, and cause huge problems for these players trying to receive the ball and get it under control. If the average defenders or average midfielder dont play inch-perfect passes, studs are going into these playmakers thighs. Likewise any passes they play will have to go either side of our markers bodies. This leaves our two lines of four. Because we are defending resolutely, we use our midfield four as a shield for our defense. It's job is to present a massive wall between the opponents midfield and their attack. By telling our midfield four to Loose Zonal Mark, Low Closing Down, Light Tackling we make completely sure that our midfield four retains their positions as a tight line of players facing the opponents midfield. This means any forward pass from the opponent can only go through the gaps between midfielders into tiny little areas. We can keep this line, or we can do something slightly different which disrupts the line but adds extra defense in possibly key areas. We can tell our wingers to tight man-mark the opponents wingers. This will produce space down the flanks, but the flanks are generally safer than space through the middle, while we make sure the opponents key wide outlets are constantly marked by players of similar pace/physical ability. If we do leave gaps out wide, this will encourage the opponents midfield to pass wide, which is a good area for us anyway. With our midfield four providing a wall, our DM man-marking the opponents AMC, our FC marking their DM, they have very little opportunity to provide beautiful defense slicing throughballs. Their playmakers dont have space or time, and their midfielders are facing a wall with limited gaps. This means our defenders can quickly step forward and instantly try to win any throughballs. However we do not wish to leave gaps through the middle. So what we do here is employ a Stopper Centreback to instantly challenge for any throughballs that by-pass the midfield. Tight Zonal Marking, Hard Tackling, High Closing Down. He will immediately charge forward and attack the pass receiver. Because our midfield is producing a wall against the opponent, his chance of winning a throughball is immense. In conjuction with the Stopper, we use a Covering Centreback whose job it is to drop deep and sweep up behind the Stopper incase he somehow manages to fail to win the ball. The crucial element in the back four here is the Fullbacks. We set them to Tight Zonal Marking, Low Closing Down, Hard Tackling. They will tightly mark and hard challenge any player that runs into their position and receives a throughball, but they will not run towards someone that already has the ball, but will instead back-off and provide cover. This is important because the Fullbacks work alongside the Sweeper to provide an additional, "reverse" shield for the Stopper. The midfield provides the wall. The stopper attacks all passes past the midfield, the Fullbacks hard tackle any passes into their zones, the sweeper drops deep. The Fullbacks therefore fullfill two roles of A: hard tackling any quick passes into their zone and B: dropping off and covering the stopper with a deep three man "sweeper shield". With this defensive setup we man-mark the key playmakers in the opponents team, we provide an unmovable 4 man wall infront of their midfield, and we then defend with a combination of instant aggression and layered depth if the ball gets past the midfield. It is because of how difficult it is to get passes through our midfield that our defensive setup works. If it was easy our stopper could be skinned, our fullbacks skinned and our Cover CB outnumbered and isolated. Because it is incredibly difficult to get good passes past our midfield, our Stopper/Fullbacks will cause havoc to the reciever while everyone else gets into a position to cover. Crucially however our Fullbacks will not charge into wide areas whereas the Stopper charges into AMC areas. The Fullbacks will retain shape while the Stopper attacks all passes infront of the back line. I really hope I have made sense here. It is quite a bit harder to describe the defensive system for an entire team than to explain how to get one midfielder behaving reasonably well in an attacking/possession context.
  2. It makes sense. I tended towards the opposite view, lots of Physical early and Mental later, but that is just a personal opinion for the actual effect of the schedule. If the schedules you design take the opposite view to the ones I designed, then that's all the better for everyone who might have different needs, wishes and opinions themselves. I totally understand the thinking behind it, and it is sound. If you train Mental earlier and I train Physical earlier, then someone wanting to boost a youngsters Mental can use your schedules. More options, more choices, better training for everyone. Just make sure you explain the thinking behind each schedule. I forgot to do that in my OP and it confused alot of issues. The better the explanation behind the schedules the easier it is to find the right one, and tweak it slightly to suit your particular tastes. I'm totally in favour of other people designing schedules based on this method. Saves me a lot of work for a start and might throw up some ideas and schedules I can use aswell.
  3. Sure go for it. Do try and test them before you release them though. You could release them in this thread but they might get swallowed up by some of the discussion. I would make a post here, and maybe make your own thread explaining what they do and I will put a link to it in my OP.
  4. You could be right. For me the stand out point is what wide players do when they receive the ball with these instructions. "Hugs Touchline" and "Cuts Inside" would seem to force the player to run inside or outside with the ball. Moves Into Channels is the one for me that is hard to pin down. But like I said you could be right. The two instructions could control Off The Ball movement as much as on-the-ball behaviour. That is much harder to see in detail than your winger obviously dribbling infield and unleashing a thunderbolt, but that doesn't mean it is not true. I didn't go into detail on those points precisely because I am not totally sure myself. It's not imperative if the TC already has the exact options you want, and even if a few options are a bit different you can still stick with the TC completely unmodified. Personally I control RFD, TTB, RWB, etc. and leave things like Mentality/CF/Passing Style/Tackling to the TC. This way you can use touchline shouts to change your overall aggression at the game without altering individual player behaviour or without having to accept TC behaviour choices you don't like. A combination of the two, TC + Classic is the way I go. The combination of flexibility and control is nice. Agreed. I have seen it on many forums and in many threads, that RFD Rare is perhaps the most overlooked instruction in the game. Even the TC refuses to give RFD Rare to very advanced wide players, while in my current save I consider it essential to the performance and behaviour of my winger(s).
  5. I'm sure plenty of people are well versed in all the tricks and details of building your formation using the tactical instructions and this thread will be of little use to them, but it is such an integral part of the game that I am surprised it is very rarely discussed beyond individual instructions for individual players, and I think it is worth bringing up for discussion. For this post I want to talk about what your team does when in possession, how your play and shape develops through your use of the Tactical Instructions, so things like Closing Down and Marking which are key components of the defensive shape and performance of your side will not be discussed, yet. The reason I want to bring this up is because once you have setup your initial formation, the interplay between Mentality, Run From Deep, Roaming and Wideplay instructions in a single player, and between multiple players, and between different layers in your side can produce a huge variety of completely different shapes and playstyles. It is more than possible to have an idea of how you want to play in your head, then get one link in your team a little bit wrong through one instruction, and completely cut-off all your attacking options and completely neutralise your own team. Likewise knowing what using these instructions is likely to do to individual players, and the play it is likely to produce between players, and being able to have little ideas of detail and set them up in players, can produce a huge variety of detailed or general styles of play. I'll start by describing the tactical instructions first. Tactical Instructions Mentality: Is pretty much nothing more than altering the position of your player backwards and forwards in his role, with the additional effect of your player preferring more or less aggressive passes. The tactics creator has certainly opened my eyes to just how simple this instruction is, how very uncomplicated it actually is as an instruction. Before the TC mentality was perhaps the most controversial and confusing and highly "theorised" and queried instruction in the game, but now with the TC there is really no excuse for people not being able to use it like a pro. The problem pre-TC was in my opinion the fact you had to build a whole mentality framework for your team from scratch, leading to compound problems of being able to see it at work, leading to compound confusion. That's in the past now, and mentality is a very simple and very powerful instruction for moving your players preferred position forwards or backwards on the pitch. Run From Deep: This instruction controls how early/often your player makes attacking runs as moves develop, and because moves tend to develop very regularly in FM it is also an instruction that controls the general positioning of your player when you have possession. Using RFD to control positioning gives you far less control over specific preferences of positioning, but when combined to mentality it lets you control backwards and forward behaviour from your chosen starting position. This combination between Mentality and RFD is perhaps the most powerful tactical tool in FM. You cannot really talk about one unless you talk about the other, likewise you cannot really try to consider the impact of one instruction without considering the impact of the other. Getting the two setup in tandem is both really easy and really hard. It is easy because it is quite simple to select a preferred starting position and then choose the level/type of forward/backwards movement you want, difficult because A: everyone comes to a football game with the perception that Forward Runs=Attack=Good and B: because those two instructions can produce a huge variety of different behaviours and tactical issues when you actually play the opponent. Roaming: This instruction controls whether a player is allowed/told to look for space and move away from his position into gaps on the pitch. It is probably the single most powerful instruction because selecting it because you think moving into space is good can end up with your player popping up in completely useless and isolated positions. There is a time and a place for Roaming off and Roaming on, and unless you understand when this time and place is you can easilly destroy the tactics you are trying to set up. Wideplay: Wideplay is new to FM10 and one of the more confusion instructions because it seems to be the tactical instruction version of certain wideplay PPM's that don't necessarilly all do the same thing. There is certainly a discrepancy between "Cuts Inside" which is a "with ball" instruction and "Moves into Channels" which is an "off-the-ball" instruction. As far as I can tell the Instructions "Hugs Touchline" and "Cuts Inside" control whether you wish the player to run down the outside of a player or take the ball infield, while "Moves Into Channels" tells your player to position himself wider than his starting position when making runs or taking up positions. "Cuts Inside" certainly does exactly what it says and there is no problem understanding this one, whereas the other two I am less sure about. Next I will describe the behaviour likely to be shown by a player with a certain set of instructions. Individual Player Example For this example we will imagine an Inside Forward in a Mourinho's Chelsea or Guardiola's Barcelona style 4-1-2-2-1 with the following Tactical Instructions. Mentality: Let's say about 10, quite a conservative Mentality for an attacking side. Run From Deep: Often, we are going for heaps of penetrating runs. Roaming: Ticked, free roles are cool. Wideplay: Cuts Inside, for those awesome curling goals and slick one-two's. The instructions themselves would suggest to us a player that starts pretty deep, makes lots of penetrating runs, takes up space the opponent leaves and then runs with the ball infield when in possession. This sounds really cool. However because of the formation and the shape of the team, what is likely to happen is that our Inside Forward is usually pushed really far forward as moves continue to develop, because he keeps making attacking runs and doesn't drop back as often. We are very likely to find our player really high up the pitch, almost like a Wide Forward, and with the same marking/space/pass availability problems as a really advanced striker. And because of where our players plays in the formation, wide on the flank and pushed high up against the opponents defence, our Roaming instruction is very likely to push our player to the touchline because there is no space infield. When he gets the ball he will drive infield and attack the centre, but instead of attacking the centrebacks from a deeper position by driving through the heart of the team, he is going to start really high wide and actually run backwards and across the defensive line instead of attacking the heart of it. And because of his low Mentality, when he has the option for a pass it is likely to go back into midfield. Common Problems One of the most common problems or mistakes is selecting instructions that look the part without actually considering what they are going to do to your player in the team context. Extremely aggressive attacking players are very likely to find themselves pinned against defenders instead of running at them or picking up space infront of them. Players that continually make Runs also suffer from this problem, playing really high up the pitch, against defenders, looking for constant half yards of space in a clogged area instead of bombing into an acre of space at speed at the final minute from a great deep position. Wingers in particular are a common source of this kind of problem. Told to get forward from deep positions to attack the opponent they end up playing in positions more like strikers looking for throughballs and making runs, instead of receiving a nice easy pass in a deep and wide position and then storming past a fullback. The Link-up Example Here I will describe some different ways of linking up groups of players using the Tactical Instructions. I will start with a basic 3 man midfield and discuss only Mentality and RFD. Let's say you want to play a 3 man midfield, and you want a deep playmaker with a more advanced playmaker and your third man to link-up the two. Now while Playmakers that make runs can be good attacking threats, generally you don't want your playmakers bombing out of position and getting stuck tight against defenders, so you are going to give both players RFD Rare. Now you do want your two playmakers staggered slightly, so that one is deep and one is more advanced. This means you want the more advanced playmaker to have a higher mentality. Or if the Deep Playmaker starts in the DMC slot, equal mentalities. So you setup your Deep Playmaker in the DMC slot and your Advanced Playmaker in the LCM slot, both with equal mentalities that are relatively high, and RFD Rare. This will keep both players from bombing into the centre forward positions, keep them both in playmaking positions, and keep them both seperated and staggered with one slightly more advanced than the other. So lets say you want the RCM to shuttle back and forth between the two players, offering easy passes and a good additional link-up option between the two, perhaps even making the odd run into the box and maybe looking to get on the end of a cross. This player you need to instruct so that he stays deep but moves backwards and forwards. This player should have a lower mentality than either player, but RFD Mixed. This means he will make runs regularly, but he will not get carried upfield by his mentality. He will run back and forth regularly never quite hitting his mentality position, and usually taking up positions between both players or slightly ahead of your advanced playmaker as attacks develop. If a good opportunity presents itself he will bomb into the box. If the RCM's mentality or RFD is too high, he will play too advanced up the pitch, and play a shuttling role between advanced playmaker and forwards, or even play as an extra forward. Another good and basic example is the Advanced and Deep Striker combination. One striker plays with a high Mentality and RFD Rare meaning he starts in an advanced position but does not make runs. The other striker starts deeper but he makes RFD Mixed, and will look to feed the ball to the advanced striker, then make runs past him. Once the deep striker gets past the advanced striker, the advanced striker will bomb forward and try to stay high up the pitch because of his mentality. In this way you can setup a whole series of pass-and-forward run moves simply by getting one striker to run from deep, and then getting the other striker to try and stay high up the pitch through mentality alone without making Runs From Deep when he is already advanced. Conclusion The morale of this story is that RFD Rare keeps the shape have designed through mentality and positioning, while RFD Mixed or Often will change your shape. RFD is great at linking up layers of your team, but is equally as good at completely destroying the basic plans you are attempting to carry out. Too much forward movement will give you seven strikers for your DLP to try and pick out, while not enough movement can make it difficult to get the ball forward from layer to layer. Mentality sets out where your players start from, where they position themselves and helps to define your shape. RFD sets out where you want movement from layer to layer and can effectively link-up your whole shape and attack the spaces in the opponent, but it can also completely destroy your shape, and prevent players from actually carrying out the roles you want them to. Being able to effectively manipulate these two instructions, to design the right kind of movement, to create movement where you want it and prevent players moving from where you want them, is the key to designing a good formation. Learn to use these four instructions well and you can design any shape and formation and tactics you can think of. Everything else pretty much tells your players what to do with the ball, these instructions tell players what to do with themselves.
  6. It is not mine either. The problem is that you cannot seperate Positioning from Off the Ball when training, they are the same type of attribute in the same category and pretty much increase or decrease at the same rate no matter what you do. Likewise you cannot seperate Finishing from Composure, although these are different types of attribute and this difference can be exploited. We all have to work under SI's division of attributes into specific Categories. There could be some changes, like moving Positioning and Off The Ball into the Defending/Attacking Categories for greater and more logical control, but I do not know their reasoning and thinking so cannot accurately say whether it is an error or some deeply thought out issue of balance. Personally, I would be inclined to question those two specific attributes. Everything else looks sensible and sound, but those two specific attributes do not seem to be distinct in Training when they are quite clearly distinct in gameplay. Moving Positioning and Off The Ball into the Defending or Attacking Categories not only seems to me to be very sensible in terms of gameplay effect and current training effect, but also in terms of making the categories themselves more balanced in terms of numbers of attributes and therefore making the whole Training issue far more easy to control and utilise without having to come to a thread like this for an indepth explanation of the fundamental mechanics. If Positioning and Off the Ball were moved you would suddenly have a more logical distribution of attributes in terms of control, but you would also have a whole bunch of Categories now having 3 or 4 attributes each making the basic balance of each slider almost identical. You would no longer have to count the attributes in Tactics, Ball Control, Defending, Attacking and Shooting because they would all now have either 3 or 4 attributes making them almost identical. This seems to me like something that would radically improve training, and I might try and bring this idea to the attention of SI if I can. It should actually replace all those schedules, it is much superior to all three. However the Developing schedule that currently exists WILL boost physical attributes more, while the Veteran schedule SHOULD boost mental more. However all things considered this single goalkeeping schedule should be superior for almost all goalkeeping players no matter their age or attribute levels, barring any brutally obvious and huge deficiencies in Physical or Mental attributes. Goalkeepers are tricky like this. They are an incredibly awkward set of players to develop and train and this single schedule that is slightly better should make a huge difference to all Goalkeepers. Let me know how you get on.
  7. For Goalkeepers I miscounted Strength by 1 attribute which had a pretty big overall effect on their attribute changes, with lots of big, buff tanks being produced. So I redesigned the schedule and you will find it in the following link: http://www.mediafire.com/?njltnzt14jm That's some really sweet distribution. Maybe a tad too much in Set Peices/Shooting but that could be down to you retraining him for a more advanced position. Or indeed down to your own preferences for attribute change. Did you custom design the schedule based on my method or did you use one of my pre-designed schedules? It is the same "type" of attribute as those that change through tutoring, but apparently it doesn't change very much.
  8. The 110 workload was no cleverly crafted or figured out "maximum" but just a level of workload that "looked right" to me. The only downside of exceeding this level would be reduced condition recovery, perhaps a small negative morale penalty for the player, and perhaps an increased risk of injury. I do not think that the workload has "theoretical maximums" or "best positions" or any other over complex positions, simply risk versus reward. More training equals more attribute movement equals faster changes according to your wishes, balanced by increased condition+morale penalties and potentially increased risk of injury. Speaking personally, I tend to train youngsters quite hard in comparison to genuine First Team regulars or my veteran players. There are many reasons for this but the more important reasons are that injuries are far less of a concern in terms of immediate impact to the squad or longterm impact of lost CA while youngsters will benefit from every additional point of CA squeezed out of a heavy schedule, and because younger players even if first team quality in terms of attributes tend to be temperamental and have under-developed personalities that can still be mentored, meaning you don't want them becoming too important status wise and meaning you might find yourself having to rest, drop or discipline them. If this doesn't apply to Rodwell, i.e. he is a key First Team player in all contexts, then you must balance the schedule according to condition recovery versus schedule intensity/rate of change versus risk of injury. Injuries will still not be a longterm problem like they would for a 30 year old player, but they will disrupt your first team, as will intense training that reduces condition recovery between games. There is an alternative method to dealing with condition loss in players, and which method you choose will affect the players longterm career. The alternative method is to invest training time and intensity into improving the players Stamina. Improved Stamina means the player will lose less condition during matches, meaning he will have to recover less between games, and will be able to play more often. This will become very important as the player ages and begins to reach the end stage of his career. His physical attributes will begin to decline, migrating into his Mental attributes, and how you develop a player when he is young will define how quickly his physical attributes each unplayable levels that cannot maintain his CA and how quickly his mental attributes will improve and reach maximum quality levels. Investing in Stamina will extend a players career at the cost of a longer period of time where he deficient at the mental aspect of the game, and perhaps an overall career with slightly reduced mental levels untill right before his final seasons. He will still eventually reach the same period of declining physical and identical quality levels of mental stats, it will just happen at a later time because you invested so much in his Stamina, which will take up CA as well as prolong his career. There are no set rules to how you choose to develop and train players, no "right" or "wrong" way. There are only options that you might not be aware of, but can play a significant role over longer periods of time. It is ultimately up to you what you want to do with the player.
  9. Pretty much. When he is injured his Match Experience starts to drop which will eventually lead to drops in CA. The same thing happens with players who go on holiday at the end of the season, just before they come back for Pre-Season they start dropping in CA because their Match Experience is too low. Not so much the "end of his injury" but more when he starts to gain CA. If the player is injured for six months then you know he will lose some CA and hopefully then get it back after he gets back to peak form. Once a player gets back into "light training" he will still be losing some CA, but will soon be returning to match experience (hopefully) and will soon improve back to his previous CA levels (hopefully), so "player in light training after injury" is basically an indicator that it is now time for you to manage his recovery through training. You can use injuries this way in theory, but what tends to happen is that it is very difficult to control, the player doesn't actually train for a long time, and his Physical Attributes have the greatest risk of declining while also being incredibly hard to improve once he is fit. So in theory yes, you could do what you say but in practice you tend to always worry about Physical Attribute declines and so apply this method to his Physical Attributes. Remember that the older a player gets, the harder it is to improve or maintain physical attributes and eventually it becomes impossible to prevent them declining. Physical Attributes are a big deal for serious longterm playstyles.
  10. No it is not normal to have youngsters injured every other day. If you have applied the fix for the Strength and Aerobic counting errors I made, i.e. reduce Strength by 1 notch for every 4 notches in the schedule, and reduce Aerobic by 1 notch for every 6 in the schedule, then reducing the Overall Workload to a more acceptable level should maintain the overall balance of the schedule while reducing the likelyhood of injuries. The best solution would be to design your own schedules based on the information and "theory" in this thread. This way you can design your own preferred balance for your players, and tweak the schedules you make according to your own needs. I understand that designing schedules is difficult, but the simple way is to design schedules like you normally would, attempting to match and increase or decrease the categories you choose, just this time remember that the "equal" level for categories depends on the number of attributes in them, so notch 3 for Strength is equal to notch 5 for Tactics, and then pay attention to what has been explained about Physical-Technical-Mental attributes increasing at different speeds at different ages. That's how I design my schedules, and that's how you can design your own based on what you want. If you want to train the 4 Ball Control attributes twice as fast as the 2 Attacking attributes, count how many notches Attacking is at then double it to get the number of notches for Ball Control at equal, then double it again to get twice as much training. Obviously my method makes finding the balance in a schedule alot more difficult than any other theory, but then my method returns much more accurate changes according to what you wish to see. My method gives you control over training, at the cost of having to pay attention to individual attributes and age, and not just try to balance categories. If you need any help designing a schedule, or a clearer explanation, let me know and I will do my best. It's a simple enough method once you understand it, but if I don't explain it well then it is a nightmare to try and understand.
  11. Veteran, it is aimed at players that are losing physical attributes or are likely to lose them because of age.
  12. That's not an issue with the schedules, it's an issue with CA change very likely caused by moving clubs. Large improvements or declines in attributes comes from CA going up or down, which has nothing to do with training. I am not sure exactly what goes on when this happens, but quick improvements or quick declines in new signings are commonplace. I would guess Reputation, Adaptability, Playing Time has something to do with it, or all three. However it is not training at work, training does not have the power to produce rapid and large quantity declines in a player, especially if he is just recently signed and new to the schedule.
  13. It seems clear to me that CA gain is having a significant effect. This is the kind of feedback that is excellent. Van Buyten seems to be behaving pretty much as the Focus of his schedules would indicate. His Age would put him at a CA level he is unlikely to improve, but not so much that significant declines are occuring, and his pattern of change seems to pretty much fit the pattern of Focus for his schedule. However Badstuber is the opposite on both counts. He is gaining CA and his training change patterns do not seem to fit the Focus ratio of his schedule. My short answer, based on what you produce here, is that CA gain/loss is distributed according to attribute weights while existing CA redistribution occurs according to what has already been said in this thread. In other words what has been explained in this thread works for a player with stationary CA in redistributing his CA, but does not account for what is actually happening when CA being gained or lost. That's the short answer. I will need to come back tomorrow or some other time and go over this in more detail, but that is what jumps out at me from looking at your results.
  14. Eliminate the supply at source. For a big forward this usually means crosses from the flanks and uncontested longballs from deep, which means you should be looking to disrupt passes from deep and wide positions. Playing a high pressing game to force the opponents key distributors into rushed or inaccurate passes is what you want. Press the opponent high up the pitch so his defenders have no time to measure a decent pass, man mark his wingers so any quick out-ball from defence is immediately under pressure and prevents good buildup from the wide areas. Push your defence up to limit his threat from any passes he wins in the air. Instead of sitting deep and narrow, play high up and aggressive. Combine constant pressure on players with poor delivery from range, to an advanced D-Line that minimises the threat of balls won in the air. If forced into a defensive position do not try to win the header, but try to win the headed pass. Win the second ball and not the first. Play a cover centreback, or multiple covering defenders and have combatative DMs ready to mop up and harrass knockdowns or hold-up passes. In manager speak cut off or harrass the supply and make sure you win the second ball.
  15. They were ideas to make use of the other perks of staff members aside from training. Signing a coach with good management and motivation to take all training categories alongside your specialist coaches should keep morale up and give you good backroom info on any player issues. Signing one or two particularly good scouts and a lot of chaff keeps costs down and you can simply Ctrl-A an entire list of reports from a weak scout doing X assignment and get the better scouts to look through them, meaning you can pretty much ignore the stuff that turns up in your inbox if you have heaps of scouts, and look only at the reports from your main guys. You could/should also sign a coach with good Tactics and Tactical Knowledge even if he doesn't have a job to do training players simply to get really good and accurate Tactical backroom staff information. There is quite a lot of abilities from your backroom staff you should be trying to exploit/maximise even if the coaches don't have a "real" role or job to do. Club Psychologist - Good man management and motivating involved in training to reduce specialist workloads and keep morale up as well as keeping you up to date and giving you good advice for any personal issues at the club. Head Scout - Best quality scout you can find, to "scout" through the reports your "chaff" build up doing their widespread, wideranging assignments. Head Physio - Not really "head physio" so much as getting atleast two quality physios, one with Motivating and one with Discipline. Tactical "Right Hand Man" - Just a random coach with high levels for Tactics to give you the best feedback on tactical backroom issues. He doesn't need to be involved with the team much, though obviously for efficiency sakes it helps if he is for example really good at taking Reserve/Youth team games. There is far more to building a good backroom staff infrastructure than just getting the most stars for your coaches. If that's all you look for you are missing out on a lot of stuff, and likely suffering because of it.
  16. My apologies for inspiring a page of Benitez debate, my point was to say how I think that match-by-match midfield rotation of roles and positions in a 4-2-3-1 is key to avoid being easilly neutralised and to make maximum usage of your defensive and attacking talents in the key areas of the opponents midfield. For example take the AMC/Trequartista role, it can be hugely effective if the opponent does not have particular deep or defensively capable DM's, such as a Deep Lying Playmaker for example. If however the opponent does have a solid DM or deep midfield then the AMC/Trequartista might be better off employed in a slightly deeper role with your own DM's playing a more advanced box-to-box role. Take for example the combination of Scholes and Fletcher. The more offensive of the two players sits deep and dictates the tempo while the more defensive of the two makes runs from deep into attacking areas, making up numbers in attack and creating space for the playmaker. Then the rest of the midfield and attack is fleshed out by playing any number of various combinations of Nani/Park/Giggs/Carrick/Gibson/Berbatov depending on the exact opponent. For example Park had two excellent games as a defensive AMC/Second Striker against Milan and another against Liverpool in the same role. In the first Milan match there was no true Left Winger as Fletcher played left side of a diamond and Park played defensive AMC. In the second Milan match Fletcher dropped back to RCM, Carrick was dropped and Nani played Left Wing. In the last two games of the Premier League Park was dropped and Berbatov played a more attacking role from a similar position. So my point was to state that having a 3 man midfield does not mean you have to be stuck playing the exact same lineup of players in identical roles, but can put your Attacking players where they will do most damage, your Defensive players likewise where they will be most effective, make subtle tweaks to personel and roles for similar basic formations but completely different in-game effect and level of defense/threat, and switch and swap roles and positions as each game demands.
  17. I thought the Champions League Final last night was a classic example of the potency of an AMC used at the right time, in the right place, with the right tactical support. It was testament to how poor Bayern are defensively and how astute Mourinho was tactically that the final move "and through to Eto'o!!!" was never employed as Snjeider pretty much single handedly destroyed Bayern on the counter sitting neatly between Pandev and Milito in attack. Something I have been noticing alot recently is the fundamental importance of understanding the tactical flexibility of the three man midfield. All of the issues of the impotant AMC, the defensively weak Regista, the inability to defend against one form of a midfield and attack another form of a midfield, are all caused by the refusal/failure to adapt your own three man midfield to the opponent in even the most basic of fashions. The European Cup this season has been full of examples of this, good, bad and ugly. Mourinho's destruction of both Barcelona and Bayern was almost hilariously simple. Likewise how Manchester United took apart Milan and then tore into Bayern in the second leg prior to the sending off was a huge lesson to me watching. Perhaps the biggest lesson all season though came from Anfield, where Alonso left for Madrid, Benitez refused to adapt, and Liverpool FC imploded. Their battle to finish above Everton and finish in the Europa League positions came down to the last 3 games, and a European ban for Portsmouth. The key issue is that the prevailance of the three man midfield has come about because of the tactical battle for space and effective use of roles for the tactics of an entire team in midfield, and those that are continuing to be successful are continuing that tactical battle into every game. You cannot simply stop because you have setup a particular three man midfield, and those that do like Benitez are being crushed by failing to understand that football is an ongoing process, match by match.
  18. That's a good issue to bring up, as I do think the bar graphs need to be looked at in more detail not only in order to make sense of them, but also to make use of them. They clearly have a purpose irrespective of confusion and obscurity of what they show, so understanding them really should be a massive help when training players. The problem is that so far the contemporary and consenus understanding has been that the bar chart levels relate to category intensive levels which relates to absolute levels of "maintain" and "improve" and so on, which is nonesense. It's an easy conclusion to jump to, most people jump to it, but it is wrong and you yourself have witnessed that the correlation is not between height and improvement/decline, but change and improvement/decline. I myself have seen that as well. Height is irrelevent, it does not function as the consensus states. Change is what matters irrespective of height. I personally am not sure exactly what they show. I am reasonably convinced that they do not account for the number of attributes per category, and should therefore be viewed relatively, i.e. Aerobic at a high level is equal to Attacking at a low level. That I am pretty sure of. However beyond that, what they display is not obvious. Do they display the effect of the training category? Do they show the quantity of CA being displaced? Do they show the attribute change end result from CA displacement + player age and CA gain/loss? Personally, I would avoid getting too hung up on the bar charts when training players if you do not know for sure what they show. They are afterall only a measure of information, when the input and end result is the key factors. Getting too caught up in bar charts and ignoring input/end result leads to things like the Training Line Theory which produces terrible results and theorises behaviour completely contrary to known game mechanics, yet is accepted as fact because "it makes sense" and is easy to understand, even if completely wrong. I would like to know precisely what they show, but untill I know that I am happy to completely ignore them in favour of a direct approach of tweaking sliders and observing the actual end result given the actual gameplay mechanics known to exist. Additional information is not always necessary, and if the additional information is obscure then it is unwise to attempt to base your activities on it.
  19. The idea that you can easilly "maintain" a single category, halt the improvement or decline of a particular aspect of a players abilities, is a myth that has sprung up and become widespread due to the "Training Line Theory" and the lack of logical alternatives. While it is theoretically possible to micro-manage a player in this level of detail, like it is theoretically possible to prevent all changes in Morale, Happiness, Condition, Match Ratings etc. through intense micro-management, it is practically impossible. The reason for this is that there are constant changes to a players CA throughout the course of an entire season, and there are constant changes to how attributes grow or decline as a player ages. Every player has in effect a unique pattern of growth and decline caused by his age combined to his own season long performances and experience in matches. And at the same time every player will start off the season with slightly reduced CA, will stabilise his CA loss early in the campaign, and then if performances levels and match experience and age and club reputation permits, he will slowly increase his CA to a peak level somewhere around the middle to the end of the season. Under these variable CA conditions, even a perfectly tuned schedule to "maintain" a player of X position at Y age will still experience growth and decline of attributes, albeit minor changes if the player in question is around 25 and playing close to his PA peak. The game represents fluctuations in ability from the start of the season when players are "rusty" or after an injury when they are "not quite at peak level" right up to mid-late season "peak ability" when players are firing on all cylinders. And this is for mid 20's first team regulars, let alone those that are rapidly improving as youngsters or rapidly declining as veterans. The easiest way to achieve a "maintain" level is to get a player to his maximum CA peak as soon as possible, design a schedule based on Age for him that reduces all bias between categories and essentially attempts to shift little or no CA between his attributes, and then try to keep the player at his peak for as long as possible. If the player has a significant drop in form, a medium injury, or ends the season and goes on holiday then his CA will drop and your current schedule will not be able to "maintain" anything. However it will minimise changes and when the player improves his CA, you will see the respective increase to match the decrease. It will not be identical though, and the players own natural pattern of improvement and decline combined to seasonal match conditions will influence the exact pattern of changes. It is extremely difficult to night on practically impossible to get absolute precise short term results from Training. Training is best used and best understood and best managed and best utilised when, in my opinion, it is viewed as a long term method of moulding or sculpting a player throughout his career with anticipation for his future needs or requirements. There are certain inevitable trends in players, such as the decline of Physical Ability and improvement of Mental Ability and so in my opinion training is best used and viewed as a means of managing a player with an eye on his future. The game does not practically allow this "maintain" level of control even if it is theoretically possible that certain people keep promoting, and they really should stop saying this if they do not want to cause even more confusion and give the completely wrong impression about how training, players and the game itself works. What will happen is that the Category with Focus 4 will receive more "impetus" or "bias" for Training changes over the Category at Focus 1, but the exact product depends on multiple factors. The Category at Focus 4 might be a Physical Category and the player might be 34, meaning that all that happens here is the natural decline of physical attributes is reduced or halted, and likewise the natural improvement of Focus 1 Tactics is reduced or halted. Do the same but in reverse, with Tactics Focus 4 and Physical Focus 1 for a 34 year old, and physical stats will drop like a stone. If the player is say 25 and you have Defending Focus 4 and Shooting Focus 1, then what you expect to happen will happen if the player as near his PA. His Shooting will be 4:1 outmatched by his Defending, and his Defending will grow at expense of his Shooting. The key point to remember is that Age and Attribute Type work to produce a set of "natural ratios" of change in attributes and so train effectively you need to be aware of them and factor them into your design process. At around about 25-26 ish age everything is relatively neutral balanced, i.e. 1:1:1:1 and so on, so your schedule should work precisely how it looks like it should. Before or after that age, the natural ratios will change and your schedules will reinforcing or counteracting the natural ratio of change with their own ratios.
  20. There is pretty much two distinct "Technical Profiles" for each player, the Outfield and Goalkeeping set. One of which is hidden for either player and cannot be improved but is generalised and defined by their rating in that area. So imagine a striker for example, he will have both an "outfield" technical profile and "goalkeeping" technical profile. However his "goalkeeping" profile is hidden and does not take up CA, nor can it be changed whatsoever. Likewise for a goalkeeper, but in reverse.
  21. Goalkeepers work differently to outfield players. Basically they work like this: Strength : Applies and has few attributes. Aerobic : Applies and has many attributes. Goalkeeping : Applies and has many attributes. Tactics : Applies and has many attributes. Ball Control : Barely applies. Has one fairly useless attribute. Defending : Does not apply. Attacking : Does not apply. Shooting : Does not apply. Set Pieces : Does not apply. Where I say "does not apply" what I mean is that the attributes in the category receive no CA when the player is a goalkeeper. You can train them as hard as you like but you are simply wasting workload for zero effect. Like training your striker in Goalkeeping, he simply will not improve any goalkeeping attributes no matter how hard you train him, because goalkeeping attributes are untrainable in outfield players. The combination of two very small categories and three very large categories, and four categories than simply do not apply, is the reason Goalkeeping Training is almost universally terrible amongst people creating schedules. The scale between large and small categories leaves absolutely no margin for error, you either get it right or you fail completely, and ontop of this alot of people crank up workload training categories they think might have some benefit but actually has absolutely zero effect other than increasing workload for no reason and depriving yourself of room to get the relevant categories properly balanced. Personally I would say the gold standard to test for to see if someone understands training is whether or not they can train goalkeepers remotely accurately and see increases in the right categories, but I am biased in this respect because I can do this. You may have noted my initial goalkeeping schedules were producing very strong goalkeepers, because my strength count was slightly off by one attribute, but the compound result was dramatic strength increases. I am glad to say that this is no longer the case, and has been resolved with intent and by design. That's great to hear. The schedule pack was always really a cheap test of my "theory". The real point was explaining how to achieve specific results through understanding training by looking at attributes.
  22. If injuries were that simple no one would ever get any. If they were that simple they wouldn't be possible in any schedules I release to the public. The problem with injuries is that no one has defined their cause, no one understands why they happen, so they cannot be micromanaged out of the game. I don't wish to blow my own trumpet, but I think it is fair to say that as far as In Match injuries go, I have given the most detailed and logical explanation of their causes by far and repeatedly in these forums. Judge for yourself: Now when dealing with training injuries you have a compound problem: 1: There is a far larger number of reasonable potential injury causing factors in Training, ranging from Coach hidden attributes to the quality of Training Facilities and including the already explained "In Match Factors" while are likely to exist in training but in an abstracted fashion. 2: You cannot watch training occur. What this means in a nutshell is that Training Injuries are going to remain in the realm of theory even when In Match Injuries are defined with absolute precision. Which they wont be for a long, long time. Though in fairness, much like the premise of this thread, the basic foundations of an understanding are being worked on.... The short answer is to do what everyone assumes works, lower the workload etc. Do not ask for absolute solutions because knowledge of the causes of injuries does not exist among the fanbase in this forum atleast. These schedules do not cause injuries because I receive few injuries using them. This means that while they may exacerbate the causes of injuries, they do not directly cause them and Training injuries are caused by many compound factors. I understand that some people have injury problems with these schedules, but the very fact that others do not mean that injuries are a complex issue that cannot be controlled, tested into non-existence, or even defined at this point.
  23. Kind of defeats the point considering the 1st Team Schedules are really all about maintaining attributes and improving condition.
  24. It does really work. If someone has an uncharacteristic outbust because of a harsh Teamtalk or any other perceived "wrong" other than demanding more first team action, then sticking them in the reserves will often produce a public apology as they "realise their behaviour will not get them near the first team". The crucial point is "uncharacteristic". If they have a Personality whereby bad reactions are a regular occurance then you must apply different man management techniques because the usual/effective ones will simply produce a different (and therefore negative) response in these players. It is the kind of thing you will not see happen if you are loathe to send first team players to the reserves as punishment, or indeed take other harsh measures to reinforce your authority over the squad. You must make this leap in order to actually see the consequences, and the consequences as I have explained do very much exist and are very effective at nipping these kinds of potentially ongoing issues in the bud.
  25. If a player is "confrontational" then taking a hard line approach will rarely work, and will only provoke more and worse behaviour. To get the optimum out of them you will have to be supportive, kind and complient. If a player rarely confronts you or anyone else, i.e. has a rare outburst then a very hardline approach is desired, even if it is your fault. Sticking someone in the reserves for badly reacting to you, even if it was justified, will quickly solve the problem. If they are regularly confrontational then you need to adapt your criticism and your approach to their mentality.
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